The Lhasa Apso originated in Tibet in the Himalayan Mountains hundreds
of years ago. It's named after the sacred city of Lhasa. For years
the breed remained solely bred in Tibet by holy men and nobles.
It was used as a watchdog in temples and monasteries. The dogs were
considered sacred and were thought to bestow good luck to their
owners. The belief was that when its master died the master's soul
entered the Lhasa Apso's body. The breed was not easy to find outside
of Tibet and were very rarely sold. Tibet's ruler would present
them to visiting foreign diplomats as gifts and because of this
they became known outside of Tibet. The Lhasa Apso first appeared
in Britain in the 1920's. In 1933 the dogs spread to other parts
of the world thanks to C. Suydam Cutting, who introduced the first
Lhasas to the USA as gifts from the 13th Dalai Lama.
The Lhasa Apso is a small, hardy little dog. The body length is
longer than the height of the dog. The small, dark, deep-set eyes
are dark brown and the pendant ears are heavily feathered. The front
legs are straight. The back legs are heavily covered in hair. The
muzzle is medium in length. The teeth should meet in a level or
slightly undershot bite. The feet are rounding, catlike with an
abundance of hair. The tail is set high, well feathered and carried
over the back in a screw. Some tails have a kink at the end. The
dense, double coat is straight and long over the entire body, including
over the head and eyes, reaching to the floor. Any colour is acceptable
in the show ring. Gold, cream, and honey are the most popular, but
the coat also comes in dark-grizzle, slate, smoke, and multi-colours
of brown, white and black. Puppy coats often change colours as the
puppy grows. Owners often cut the dogs hair short in a puppy cut
to make them easier to care for.
This is a hardy dog with a friendly, assertive, intelligent and
lively manner. Lhasa Apsos are spirited and devoted little dogs
that make good pets. They are affectionate and obedient with their
masters. This breed responds to motivational training. They have
a keen sense of hearing, and make good watch dogs.
The Lhasa Apso travels well. Sadly this little dog often falls
victim of human induced behavioural problems because he is allowed
to believe that he is the pack leader as he is allowed to do as
he pleases. This causes many varying degrees of negative behaviours
to come out in the dog.
They become suspicious of strangers, and may not tolerate children.
They will become wilful with a loud persistent bark, as they try
and get people to listen to them. They will become nervous and untrustworthy
with strangers and children, and inclined to fight with other dogs.
Often times they will develop separation anxiety getting very upset
when left alone. Followers are not allowed to leave the pack leader,
however pack leaders can leave the followers.
They can become can snappish if surprised or peeved, and can display
guarding behaviour. These negative behaviours are not traits of
the Lhasa Apso, they are brought about by bad human leadership resulting
from the dog not being treated like the canine species it is. A
mentally stable dog, which gets enough physical and mental exercise,
will have a totally different personality. It is all up to the humans
around the dog to act as they should even though this breed is small
and cute. As soon as people start being true pack leaders, the dogs
behaviour will change for the better.
Height: Dogs 25-28cm a little less for Bitches.
Weight: Dogs 5.9-6.8kg a little less for Bitches.
Generally a very healthy breed. Sometimes they have skin problems
if the coat is not kept free of parasites. They do have a slight
tendency to get hip dysplasia, kidney problems, eye problems and
These dogs are great for those who live in flats or smaller dwellings
although they are very active indoors.
Lhasa Apso need a daily walk. Play will take care of a lot of their
exercise needs, however, as with all breeds; play will not fulfil
their primal instinct to walk. Dogs that do not get to go on daily
walks are more likely to display behaviour problems. They will also
enjoy a good run in a safe open area off lead, such as a park or
This breed is very long-lived living upwards of 15 years with some
dogs living up to 18 or more years.
The long coat parts at the spine and falls straight on either side.
No trimming or stripping is needed, although when in full coat,
they need to be brushed about once a day to keep their coats from
matting. Some owners opt to cut the coats short for easier grooming.
Shampoo as necessary. Check the feet for matting and for foreign
matter stuck there. Clean the eyes and ears meticulously, for they
tend to tear. Some owners prefer to get their coats clipped to cut
down on grooming. This breed does not moult much at all.